They say that no matter what you do in life it’s always better to be prepared, and moving from one home to the next is no exception.
Moving is stressful enough and the last thing you want to do is create extra work for yourself because you didn’t have all your ducks in a row. In this case, by ducks we mean your possessions – like clothing, kitchenware, bathroom stuff, books, a music collection or any number of other things – that make your house a home.
Generally, items like couches, dressers, bed frames and mattresses don’t need more than a protective sheet or blanket draped over them, but it’s the small stuff that can really slow down and make an ordeal out of an otherwise straightforward move. These smaller items are best packed away and organized into something that’s easy to lift, carry and then stack inside a moving van or truck – boxes for moving. It might seem like an extra step but proper packing will save time, money, and a whole lot of aggravation during your move.
Take it from us, there’s no way around it – a successful move is going to require boxes, and lots of them.
How much will moving supplies cost?
An average move in Canada typically costs between $750 – $1200, factoring in expenses like packing supplies, cleaning supplies, moving truck rental and some budget for miscellaneous costs.
If you’re hiring help in the form of a packing service or professional movers, then your costs will greatly increase. A packing service could cost over $2000 and movers might add another $1500 – $2500. You can see where this is going – moving is expensive!
Finding savings wherever you can is important, and a great place to start is with your choice of moving boxes.
Using the HomeDepot Canada’s moving cost calculator is a great way to begin by estimating how much you can expect to spend on moving supplies provided the following breakdown:
For a 3 bedroom, fully furnished house the cost would be $578.26 (plus tax) for just moving supplies ($341.44 of that is to buy moving boxes). That’s quite a lot of money for something you might only use to move and which you’ll then need to find a place to store or dispose of after. We’re sure you could put that money to better use and invest it elsewhere.
Luckily, boxes usually aren’t scarce, and you might be able find cheap moving boxes for much less or perhaps even score some for free.
We know you have enough on your plate already with everything a move requires, so we’ve done a bit of research and will let you in on the best places to get boxes for moving in Canada.
Remember, finding cheap or free moving boxes will take some legwork on your part but the savings could be well worth it.
Check with family and friends first
Always hit up your inner circle before looking elsewhere or buying boxes for moving. You might save a bunch of time, money and hassle with a quick text or phone call. If you know someone who has recently moved, they should be first on your list, and it’s a good idea to ask people you know to spread the word and be on the lookout on your behalf. You never know who might have some suitable boxes for moving lying around for you to collect.
You should also leverage social media to aid in your search. Create a Facebook post about your need for free moving boxes to engage your friends, or if you see an Instagram post of someone moving, hit them up.
Everyone knows that moving is stressful and they’ll be happy to help out. While you’re at it, maybe you can even convince them to lend a hand on moving day.
Get online to find cheap or free moving boxes in your area
Before you begin the box search, it’s a good idea to know roughly how many boxes you’ll need to pack up your home. To get started, use the Home Depot moving supply calculator to get an estimate of the quantity you’ll need to find. Of course, you won’t know exactly how many boxes you’ll actually need until you get packing, so aim to scoop up some extras and don’t be disappointed if you need run out to for more last minute. Sturdy boxes for moving are in high demand and you’ll likely be able to get rid of any excess quite easily.
Figure out roughly how many boxes you need and get online to find where to get moving boxes locally!
No matter where in Canada you live, Kijiji is a great tool to find moving boxes you can pick up locally. Simply do a search for “boxes” to find people getting rid the boxes you need, or create a Wanted Ad asking for free moving boxes.
Pro Tip: Concentrate your efforts at the end of the weekend and beginning of the week as people tend to move on weekends and will look to dump their used boxes asap.
Facebook Marketplace & Facebook Groups
Similar to Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace could be the treasure trove of cardboard gold you’re searching for. Simply run a search for “free boxes” and you might be surprised by what you find. You can filter the search results to show “Only show free listings.
While the FB Marketplace is your best bet, you could also consider joining some local groups in case a member is looking to part ways with some boxes. Look for local buy & sell groups or groups related to recycling, waste reduction or free pickup. As an example, look for groups like this one – Zero Waste Toronto – on Facebook because why buy boxes for moving when you don’t need to.
You’d be surprised as to how many box sourcing possibilities can be found within Facebook Groups.
Craigslist is another online marketplace that offers opportunities to find people getting rid of their used boxes – which is perfect for you!
Find the right ad, coordinate a pickup and voila you’ve got moving boxes for free.
While Ebay isn’t known for listings with free stuff, it’s still worth checking out for cheap moving boxes. Start a search for moving boxes and make sure you have the “Free Local Pickup” option selected, and an appropriate Item Location set so that only relevant listings are shown.
Look to local retailers for a budget moving box solution
On top of checking out the local online marketplaces, we recommend visiting all the big box stores in your area and asking if you might take some used boxes off their hands. Most places are happy to give boxes away as they typically have a steady overflow from inbound shipments which would normally just be tossed out and recycled anyways.
Keep in mind that you likely won’t be able to fill out your whole box quota at just one store, so you’ll need a “milk run” of stores to hit up for free boxes. You might even need to visit the same locations multiple times to pick up their fresh supply. The cheapest boxes for moving are the free ones so see if anyone can hook you up.
Use Google Maps to your advantage and plan out a route around town that will take you to all the bigger retailers in your area. Also, you can save time by coordinating any Kijiji (or other local pickups) on route while you’re already out.
Here’s a list of some of the best places for free moving boxes in most Canadian cities:
Some of the best boxes you can find for free come from here. Alcohol bottles are usually shipped in sturdy and durable boxes that are a great size for moving purposes. Visit the store, speak to an employee or manager and see if they’ll let you take some for your move.
There are not many stores that can compete with a Walmart when it comes to sheer size and inventory volume. That’s great for you because it means they’ll have lots of boxes coming through on an almost daily basis. Just walking around the store, you’ll often see employees restocking shelves with a big skid of empty boxes beside them and if you’ve ever poked your head into the back-warehouse area of a Walmart, you might have noticed a giant cardboard box compactor machine with a massive cart of boxes waiting to be packed down for recycling. Delivery schedules vary from area to area, so it’s a good idea to ask what days you can expect to have the best chance to get boxes for moving.
Similar to Walmart, these are big stores with a lot of inventory and are likely to be able to provide what you need. Speak to a store employee or manager for help and don’t forget to ask if there’s any specific days when they get the largest shipments (those are the days you’ll want to visit for moving boxes at Canadian Tire).
You know that if anywhere is going to have an abundance of boxes you could use to move, it’s going to be Costco. If you don’t have your own membership, lean on family or friends to take you along or see if they’ll inquire about snagging some free boxes on your behalf.
Office supply stores like Staples are also great places to find free boxes. These stores also sometimes have boxes that have lids and sizes to fit your electronics.
Bookstores (Chapters Indigo)
Books are heavy which means they get shipped in strong and durable boxes – perfect for packing up your stuff. An employee will usually be happy to let you take some so they don’t have to break them down for disposal themselves.
Electronic stores are also premium places to get moving boxes. They carry lots of inventory and often have different sized boxes than those found at other retailers. Need a box made to fit a TV or home appliance, there’s a good chance you can find something here.
Again, lots of boxes move through these stores on a regular basis. Your best bet will be to speak with someone in the produce section and ask for boxes, especially the ones with lids.
On top of the list above, there are many other retailers around, so think about what stores in your area might have boxes and check them out.
The more places you visit, the better. If you find enough stores, you might even be able to pick and choose only the best boxes for moving – the ones that are most durable, the right size and those that have lids. A few moving boxes here and there will add up quickly so get searching and don’t be shy.
Going the paid route for cheap moving boxes
You should always try to find as many free moving boxes as you can using the tips we mentioned above. Once you’ve done that, you can take stock of what you’ve creatively sourced and gathered. Then look over the stuff you need to pack and make a list of what supplies you think you’re still missing. Maybe you don’t have quite enough boxes, or you need some in specific sizes to securely move your stuff. Not to worry, there’s lots of places to buy moving boxes so rounding out your collection of moving boxes shouldn’t be difficult.
A great thing about buying boxes for moving is that you can really get purpose specific and choose the perfect boxes for things like dishes, glasses, mirrors, electronics, artwork, lamps and even your wardrobe. If your protecting something important, don’t go for the cheapest moving boxes but pick the ones best suited to do the job.
Wondering where to buy moving boxes? Start by checking here:
U-Haul knows about moving people and their possessions from place to place. It’s only fitting that they have all the supplies you’ll need including moving boxes for sale. Prices are reasonable and the selection is amazing. U-Haul moving boxes are also sold in kits that include a variety of different sizes and shapes at discounted prices. If you’re already renting a moving truck or van here, it might also be the best place to buy moving boxes.
Is there anything home related that this store doesn’t sell? We’re sure there is but boxes are something they have lots of. If you’re willing to pay, the Home Depot has moving boxes of all sizes as well as all the other packing supplies you might need. Try a Google search for “moving boxes Home Depot” as a quick way to find the right page on their website.
While not exactly known for moving boxes, some locations do carry them. After doing a search for “moving boxes”, there are over a thousand listings for moving boxes at Walmart. A lot of the budget moving boxes here are sold as “Online Only” though and will need to be pre-ordered to make sure they arrive on time.
The selection isn’t amazing, but if what you need are standard sizes of moving boxes – small, medium, large – then Canadian Tire is a good place to get them. You can find the rest of your packing supply needs here too.
Being an office supply store, you might expect to find only filing, or bankers boxes at Staples. The store definitely carries these in abundance but that’s not all the sell in the boxes department. Looking online, Staples currently offers 631 different types of boxes, a large portion of which are purpose made for keeping you organized while moving.
As the name suggests, this is your one stop shop for all your packing needs. Moving boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, foam chips, moving blankets, shrink wrap and more – you need it to move, the BoxShop has it.
The selection isn’t huge, but Lowes offers some nice deals on Fellowes moving boxes with enough options to outfit any move and plenty of locations to choose from across the country. You can also find all your moving supplies here, not just boxes.
What about rental moving boxes instead?
If you’re wondering where to get moving boxes, you might want to consider renting instead of buying. Rental moving boxes are typically made from plastic and designed to be used countless times by families like yours. Pricing for moving box rentals is very affordable and often includes free delivery and pickup. Rental boxes are also an environmentally friendly choice as much less waste is created. Keep in mind you’ll have to return these boxes once you’ve finished moving unless you extend your rental, which won’t be ideal if you need to store your stuff for the longer term.
A pricing chart taken from Frogbox shows that renting could be an option for very affordable moving boxes compared to buying.
To keep your move organized and your possessions protected, these rentals could tick all the boxes (pun intended) for your moving solution.
There’s a number of vendor options to choose from, including U-Haul which also offers plastic rental moving boxes.
We recommend checking online to find a moving box rental store in your area. You’ll be able to compare rates, find out about delivery/pick up options, as well as speak with an expert about the number of boxes you might require.
Here’s a few places to start to search:
Frogbox – https://www.frogbox.com/
The Mover’s Choice – https://www.themoverschoice.com/
Smart Boxes – https://www.smartboxes.ca/
Blue Bins Unlimited – https://www.bluebins.com/services/residential-moving-boxes-and-supplies/
U-Haul Plastic Moving Boxes – https://www.uhaul.com/Plastic-Moving-Boxes/
Happy box hunting!
No matter which type of box you choose, or where you source them, moving boxes help protect your belongings to give you piece of mind. They also save space inside your moving truck and make the task of transporting or carrying everything much easier. If you have a move coming up, take the time and plan ahead to make sure you have everything you need to make it a success.
If you have questions about an upcoming move or are looking to hire moving services in your area, we can help. Check out our page on Moving for more information.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article about finding cheap or free moving boxes and found it helpful to your task of moving all your stuff.